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How the Promotional Art for Halo 4 and Mass Effect 2 Communicates Gameplay

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How the Promotional Art for Halo 4 and Mass Effect 2 Communicates Gameplay An analysis of how the art style in promotional art for Halo 4 and Mass Effect 2 communicates the respective gameplay to the target
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How the Promotional Art for Halo 4 and Mass Effect 2 Communicates Gameplay An analysis of how the art style in promotional art for Halo 4 and Mass Effect 2 communicates the respective gameplay to the target audience Faculty of Arts Department of Game Design Rikard Dahlberg Degree Project in Game Design, 15 ECTS Credits Game Design and Graphics Supervisors: Nataska Statham, Stellan Sundh Examiner: Iwona Hrynczenko May, 2014 Abstract The thesis presents an analytic work of the MDA-framework and the promotional art of Halo 4 and Mass Effect 2 and how the two areas correlate with each other. The aim for the thesis is to investigate how the art style of the promotional art uses the elements of art to communicate the different gameplay of Halo 4 and Mass Effect 2, both set in a science fiction world, to their respective audiences in order to find how the elements of art can help to emphasize communication of gameplay information to the audience. This is reached by analyzing the gameplay of both games with the help of the MDA-framework by Hunicke, LeBlanc and Zubek enabling the analyses to reach a more comprehensive breakdown of the games. The analyses of the promotional artwork for both games are weighed against categories in the elements of art, the reason to find a more comprehensive breakdown of the promotional art. The data from both analyses are later compared with each other to find how the elements of art communicate information of the gameplay to the audience. In addition, it presents what categories of the elements of art in this analysis seems to be the most common for communicating gameplay information of the chosen promotional artworks. The conclusion is that the use of elements of art in promotional art in Halo 4 and Mass Effect 2 seems to carry more information that communicates to the audience than what might be the first to meet the eye. This leads to an understanding that the analysis of a broader sample size of promotional art from the games can open an opportunity of a better understanding how the use of elements of art in promotional art can communicate gameplay to the audience. Additionally this could also be applied to a larger range of games in order to find how different genres use the elements of art to communicate to their respective audience. Keywords: elements of art, MDA-framework, visual communication, gestalt Table of Contets 1 Introduction Aim and Questions Literature Review Elements of Art Gameplay and the MDA Framework Method Material Limitations Results MDA Analysis Halo 4 MDA Analysis Mass Effect 2 MDA Analysis Promotional Art Analysis Halo 4 Promotional Art Analysis Mass Effect Promotional Art Analysis Discussion The Gameplay and the Elements of Art Halo Mass Effect Halo 4 and Mass Effect Conclusion References... 43 List of Figures and Tables Figure 1: How to draw hair, McCaig, Figure 2: Edgar from Artistocats, Kahl, Figure 3: Use of elementary forms, Crane, Figure 4: Elementary forms, Crane, Figure 5 (left): One point perspective, Termes, Figure 6 (middle): Two point perspective, Termes, Figure 7 (right): Three point perspective, Termes, Figure 8: Hue, Saturation, Value color solid cylinder, Wikimedia Commons, Figure 9 (left): Rouen Cathedral, The Gate and The Tower, Monet, Figure 10 (right): Rouen Cathedral, Magic in Blue, Monet, Figure 11 (left): A Man in Armour, Rembrandt, Figure 12 (right): The Jewish Bride, Rembrandt, Figure 13: Perspective of the MDA-framework from the perspective of designer and player, Hunicke et al, Figure 14: Halo 4 Chief vs Forerunner Combat, Microsoft Studios, Figure 15: Halo 4 Chief and Warthog Promo Art, Microsoft Studios, Figure 16: Chief vs Knight, Microsoft Studios, Figure 17: Promotional Art 1 Mass Effect 2, Electronic Arts, Figure 18: Promotional Art 2 Mass Effect 2, Electronic Arts, Figure 19: Promotional Art 3 Mass Effect 2, Electronic Arts, Figure 20: Line analysis of Halo 4 Chief vs Forerunner Combat, edited by Author Figure 21: Color analysis of Halo 4 Chief vs Forerunner Combat by Author Figure 22: Shape analysis of Halo 4 Chief vs Forerunner Combat, edited by Author Figure 23: Space analysis of Halo 4 Chief vs Forerunner Combat, edited by Author Figure 24: Texture analysis of Halo 4 Chief vs Forerunner Combat, edited by Author Figure 25: Line analysis of Halo 4 Chief and Warthog Promo Art, edited by Author Figure 26: Color analysis of Halo 4 Chief and Warthog Promo Art by Author Figure 27: Shape analysis of Halo 4 Chief and Warthog Promo Art, edited by Author Figure 28: Space analysis of Halo 4 Chief and Warthog Promo Art, edited by Author Figure 29: Texture analysis of Halo 4 Chief and Warthog Promo Art, edited by Author Figure 30: Line analysis of Halo 4 Chief vs Knight, edited by Author Figure 31: Color analysis of Halo 4 Chief vs Knight by Author Figure 32: Shape analysis of Halo 4 Chief vs Knight, edited by Author Figure 33: Space analysis of Halo 4 Chief vs Knight, edited by Author Figure 34: Texture analysis of Halo 4 Chief vs Knight, edited by Author Figure 35: Line analysis of Promotional art 1 Mass Effect 2, edited by Author Figure 36: Color analysis of Promotional art 1 Mass Effect 2 by Author Figure 37: Shape analysis of Promotional art 1 Mass Effect 2, edited by Author Figure 38: Space analysis of Promotional art 1 Mass Effect 2, edited by Author Figure 39: Texture analysis of Promotional art 1 Mass Effect 2, edited by Author Figure 40: Line analysis of Promotional art 2 Mass Effect 2, edited by Author Figure 41: Color analysis of Promotional art 2 Mass Effect 2 by Author Figure 42: Shape analysis of Promotional art 2 Mass Effect 2, edited by Author Figure 43: Space analysis of Promotional art 2 Mass Effect 2, edited by Author Figure 44: Texture analysis of Promotional art 2 Mass Effect 2, edited by Author Figure 45: Line analysis of Promotional art 3 Mass Effect 2, edited by Author Figure 46: Color analysis of Promotional art 3 Mass Effect 2, by Author Figure 47: Shape analysis of Promotional art 3 Mass Effect 2, edited by Author Figure 48: Space analysis of Promotional art 3 Mass Effect 2, edited by Author Figure 49: Texture analysis of Promotional art 3 Mass Effect 2, edited by Author 1 Introduction This thesis is about investigating what components in promotional art communicate with the target audience for Mass Effect 2 (Electronic Arts, 2010) and Halo 4 (Microsoft Studios, 2012). Mass Effect 2 is a computer role playing game with action-shooter elements set in the future with strong science fiction theme. The artwork for the game often depicts scenes of inhabited highly technological cities with crowds of people showing a living world, often in combination with details containing strong and bright colors, which often relies upon clear geometrical and repeating shapes. Other artwork also shows intense combat scenes where the main characters fight for their survival with different tactics. Halo 4 is a first person shooter with a strong action aspect and strong science fiction influences, as Mass Effect 2. The artwork for Halo 4 does also depict scenes with details with strong and bright colors, which often relies upon clear geometrical and repeating shapes. Differing from Mass Effect 2 the environments of Halo 4 does not often contain more than one character, other than combat scenes where the main character often is portrayed as a person who can defeat anything a by himself. Artwork for games has mostly been used as a work method to design characters and environments; it has however become more popular to be used as promotional art for game titles over the years. A similar scenario can be found in newspapers where the distribution of information was most important aspect. It later used Gestalt principles for its layout to lead the reader through the pages of the newspapers, an example would be how newspapers used to be filled with only lengthy blocks of texts and through the years be more aesthetically designed to be easier to read and give the reader an appeal to read and buy the paper (Lester, 2006). This can also be similarly found in how marketing uses colors and shapes to affect the customer, where different colors create different emotional states in the customer which means that colors can be used to reach different target audiences (Boone & Kurtz, 2012; Smith and Taylor, 2004). Colors and shapes are two components of the elements of art (Sandberg, 2009; Fussell, 2014; Crane, 1914; Paul Getty Museum, 2014; Center of Visual Literacy, 2014) and this is a part of what this thesis will cover, how Mass Effect 2 and Halo 4 uses these different elements in the art style for the promotional art to reach their respective target audience. The thesis will also analyze the different kinds of gameplay each game contains, these will be examples of major activities the player will be exposed to during the gameplay. The components of the promotional art for this analysis are based upon the elements of art (Sandberg 2009; Fussell, 2014; Crane, 1914; Paul Getty Museum, 2014; Center of Visual Literacy, 2014) which are basic components in art itself. These components are used to produce a certain art style for a project in sense of aesthetic appearances and can in extension be used to impose an emotional response in a target audience by different colors and shapes, among others (Lester, 2006) (Smith, Taylor 2004). Both games are analyzed to define different gameplay elements which the games rely upon to define their own genre (Adams, 2010; Hunicke, LeBlanc, Zubek, 2014). By using the elements of art to analyze what gameplay elements the promotional art emphasizes, this thesis aims to investigate what the developers of these games try to communicate to the target audience. 1 1.1 Aim and Questions This paper aims to analyze how the art style of Halo 4 and Mass Effect 2 use the elements of art in their respective promotional art in order to communicate the gameplay of each game to their target audience. The paper also investigates what aspects of the gameplay are communicated in the promotional art of the games in order to investigate what aspects of the games are important for the developers to convey to the target audience. Main question: How does the art style of Halo 4 and Mass Effect 2 use the elements of art to communicate the MDA-framework through the promotional artwork to the target audience? In order to find supportive data for this question, the background covers a definition of the theoretical framework of the elements of art. Similarly a definition of the MDA-framework and what it means is also covered. This is followed by an analysis of the MDA-framework for Halo 4 and Mass Effect 2 according to the definitions of Hunicke, et al, as well as an analysis of the promotional art of both games following the definitions of the elements of art in this thesis. Followed by a comparative discussion of both the artistic analyses and MDA analyses to investigate how both games communicate with the target audience, and how the elements of art are used to communicate different gameplay information within the same artistic genre (science fiction). 1.2 Literature Review The literature review and background introduces different terminologies and theories used in the thesis as well as defining the elements of art and how it is used in this thesis in order to investigate how the elements of art is used in the game and the theory behind the gameplay analysis Elements of Art The elements of art ( Sandberg, 2009; Fussell, 2014; Crane, 1914; Paul Getty Museum, 2014; Center of Visual Literacy 2014) are a variety of basic components which artwork contain, these are the components which are the easiest to discern from one another by their simplistic appearance. They are often placed into different categories: lines, shapes and forms, space, colors, and textures. Lines are what defines a shape and describes what the particular shape represents, whether it is a soft and liquid like substance, or hard and sharp solid. This is something that can be easily seen in 2D animations where the line work often shows (Sandberg, 2009; Stanchfield, 2009). Lines can also be according to Block (2008) the meeting of two edges in a three-dimensional space and the contour of an object. Both Block and Crane also argue that lines can also be used in order to describe movement to lead the audience attention. Block describes this through an example of how a photograph of a highway leads the audience to follow the direction of the cars or the movement of a character crossing the streets leads the audience to the other side of the street to the persons intended destination (Block 2008, p.105). This also shared by Cranes example of how movement creates lines which the audience will follow (Crane, 1914 p.16). 2 Figure 1: How to draw hair, McCaig, Figure 2: Edgar from Artistocats, Kahl, As the figure shows the use of lines can describe a variety of properties. Starting with Milt Kahls (Stanchfield, 2009) example of Edgar from Aristocats to the left (Figure 01). The use of lines depicts exaggerated emotions, creases and folds of the facial features as well as the behavior of the clothes. The second picture shows the work of Iain McCaig to the right (Figure 02). The use of lines in McCaigs drawing shows a description of how the hair flows and the creases of the skin in the old man s face, a more realistic depiction compared to Kahls. Figure 3: Use of elementary forms, Crane, Figure 4: Elementary forms, Crane, Shapes and forms are easily identifiable geometrical components of often more complex objects. These can in a two-dimensional aspect be broken down into: square, circle, equilateral triangle and ellipse, among others. In a three-dimensional aspect the components would translate to: cube, sphere, three-sided pyramid, and ellipsoid, among others (Block, 2008; Sandberg, 2009; Stanchfield, 2009). Walter Crane s drawings (Figure 03) exemplify how shapes and forms can be found more or less everywhere by comparing his two pictures with each other (Figure 03 and Figure 04). Figure 5 (left): One point perspective, Termes, Figure 6 (middle): Two point perspective, Termes, Figure 7 (right): Three point perspective, Termes, Space defines three constraints of a composition; width, height and depth, creating the illusion of a three-dimensional space within a two-dimensional surface (Block, 2008; Sandberg, 2009). Dick Termes pictures (Figure 05, Figure 06, Figure 07) can be used to show the difference uses of space can have in an environment by adding vanishing points. Figure 8: Hue, Saturation, Value color solid cylinder, Wikimedia Commons, Colors can be used to describe materials, time of day, moods and emotions (Sandberg, 2009; Gurney, 2010; Michlap, 2013). It can also be used to convey an emotion to the audience, or attract interest from a particular audience depending on the use of color (Boone and Kurtz, 2012; Lester, 2006; Smith and Taylor, 2004). Figure 9 (left): Rouen Cathedral, The Gate and The Tower, Monet, Figure 10 (right): Rouen Cathedral, Magic in Blue, Monet, By using two of Claude Monet s paintings of the Rouen Cathedral series (Figure 09 and Figure 10), it is clear how colors can be used to depict different times of the day even if the same subject matter is being used. Figure 11 (left): A Man in Armour, Rembrandt, Figure 12 (right): The Jewish Bride, Rembrandt, Textures define what kind of material an object is, being either metallic, fabric, liquid or rock. This helps the readability of different surfaces within a composition (Sandberg, 2009; Gurney, 2010; Crane, 1914). By using two paintings by Rembrandt it is easy to show how texture in both paintings describe different materials: the painting to the left (Figure 11) shows how the use of highlights can be used to describe metal, while the use of more matte colors can be used to describe cloth, as seen in the painting to the right (Figure 12) Gameplay and the MDA Framework The MDA-framework stands for mechanics, dynamics and aesthetics. This is a methodology to understand how games work and to create a bridge between game design and development, but also game designer and audience, among others. The figure below (Figure 13) describes how the designer reaches the audience through mechanics, dynamics and aesthetics, while the player experiences the mechanics and dynamics from first being introduced to the aesthetics of the game. Figure 13: Perspective of the MDA-framework from the perspective of designer and player, Hunicke et al, Mechanics are the most basic components within the game which are the rules the game plays by, an example would be the use of shuffling, folding and calling in a game of Poker or the different rules of movement the pieces of Chess have. Dynamics are an extension of what mechanics can create, in both Chess and Poker the different mechanics can create a bluffing dynamic. By using both the examples of Poker and Chess which both allow the players to bluff, this can create the aesthetic challenge. Aesthetic is in this case (game design) what kind of experience or fun the player should experience. Aesthetic can be broken down into eight different kinds of fun; Fantasy, Narrative, Challenge, Sensation, Expression, Fellowship, Submission, and Discovery (Hunicke et al, 2014). MDA is a formal approach to understanding games - one which attempts to bridge the gap between game design and development, game criticism, and technical game research. We believe this methodology will clarify and strengthen the iterative processes of developers, scholars and researchers alike, making it easier for all parties to decompose, study and design a broad class of game designs and game artifacts. (Hunicke et a, 2014, p. 1) Gameplay are the challenges the player is presented with during the game and the actions the player is allowed to use during the game in order to overcome these challenges. This is something Adams (2010) refers to in Fundamentals of Game Design, The correct answer to the question, Wouldn t it be fun to play a game set in ancient Rome? is another question: Yes, it would. What kinds of things could a player do in ancient Rome? The more precise you are, the better. (Adams, 2010, p. 69). Which not only correlates to how the aesthetics of the MDA-framework is an important part of the gameplay experience, but also the importance of what the player actually will be doing in the game, and give the player an understanding of what these things are, meaning that the dynamics and mechanics are at least equally important. 6 2 Method The specific gameplay for Halo 4 and Mass Effect 2 is extrapolated by analysing the gameplay of each game and with the help of using the Halo 4 Guide (Microsoft, 2012) and Mass Effect 2 Game Manual (Electronic Arts, 2010) through the MDA-framework (Hunicke, et al, 2014). The MDA analyses highlights which gameplay components are important for each game. This is done by finding the key components in the following: Mechanics: The most basic tasks the player can perform during the game which the rules of the games allow. This often includes simple tasks such as walking, jumping, collecting items, taking damage etc. This is done by analysing the rules of the game, analysing its gameplay and the manuals for each game. Dynamics: This is found by analysing the gameplay of each game and how the mechanics for each game interacts with the gameplay. By having the dynamics through the mechanics, this allows the definition of the aesthetics. Aesthetics: Hunicke argues that aesthetics can be broken down into at least eight different kinds of fun: Sensation, Fantasy, Narrative, Challenge, Fellowship, Discovery, Expression and Submission (Hunicke et al, 2014, p2). By using the dynamics and mechanics in the game, this allows the ability to point to the different kinds of fun are presented in the game. In order to find usable data on how promotional art for Halo 4 and Mass Effect 2 use different elements o
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